New ideas for local development projects within popular planning processes are often not of the type which can be implemented immediately. As in other project developments, new ideas need further development and professional help - mainly on two aspects: (a) There is often a need for technical development especially if the project or social enterprise touches on more complicated issues like energy, transport, water supply and disposal, health care, care for the elderly and disabled and related issues;
(b) There is often a need for economic or managerial development in setting up an enterprise eg. developing a business plan, finding space and premises, employing and qualifying the necessary workforce, financial planning, accounting and auditing.
All these necessary development processes are time consuming and new local development initiatives usually do not have the money to pre-finance these development costs. Services of this kind should therefore be free of charge and made available through Intermediary Organisations. They could be funded in the medium term by ‘revolving funds’ where successful projects contribute to help others. Best practice examples for such development agencies are the technology networks established by the Greater London Council; the cooperative development agencies in Sweden, Italy and Spain; the community enterprise and social economy agencies in the UK and Ireland; and the Berlin Development Agency for Social Enterprises and Neighbourhood Economy (BEST). All these agencies are independent, open to the public and work on a non-profit basis which allows for voluntary work and contributions from students, academics and other professional experts. A radical and empowering way of funding professional support is to provide financial support direct to the social enterprises themselves and they can then buy services and support from any intermediary organisations or indeed other social enterprises.
Technologie-Netzwerk Berlin (2004): BEST. Berlin Development Agency for Social Enterprises and Neighbourhood Economy. Berlin: